Meet the Photography Teacher
I remember the day well
I had been playing with cameras for most of my life and when the moment hit me, it came as a shock.
I was experiencing a real sense of dissatisfaction.
For many years I had been reading monthly photography magazines. They had been a tremendous source of learning and inspiration. But on this one particular day, something told me that things had changed.
I had returned home with a couple of magazines as normal. I thumbed through them, looking for something interesting to read. But before I realised, I had got to the end of both publications having read nothing.
To be honest, I couldn’t find anything new. All the articles seemed so familiar, as if I had read them before… many, many times over. All their tips and tricks for getting the best out of my camera, advice about shooting portraits and landscapes and for developing an eye for composition, none of it told me anything I didn’t already know.
I turned to books for fresh inspiration with a thirst for knowledge to help me improve my photography
Sadly they failed too
Next I went to college. Surely I would learn more there? Hours in the darkroom, hours in the studio, hours lIstening to teachers… nope. Nothing satisfied.
Then digital came along – and finally I got to learn new stuff. Time spent in darkrooms disappeared and was immediately replaced with time spent editing in Photoshop and Lightroom.
This was great, now I could buy books and magazines which would teach me and help me grow in my editing skills. I spent hours immersed in learning. My God, I spent every spare moment I could find, practising and honing my editing. I had no social life, all my time was either out with my camera or indoors editing.
My generation were raised to understand, that if you wanted something, you had to work for it. If I wanted to be a photographer, I knew I had to study and learn, to practise, to experiment, to go out there and shoot the shots, to familiarise myself with the camera so that it became part of me, like a limb… so that muscle-memory and creative eye would come together without thinking.
Finally one day I had an opportunity to teach some basic photography skills at a camera club I belonged to. Aperture Camera Club opened with just seven members (below). Within 4 months the membship had increased to 40.
I was teaching for an hour at every meeting (twice a month), and it was at this moment that I realised how much I knew.
All those years of pushing myself were now about to make sense.
The year was 2009 and I was having an epiphany. It was like scales falling from my eyes as I realised, that having aquired so many years of study, it was now my turn to pass my knowledge and experience to others.
I got tremendous satisfaction teaching photography to other people and between 2009 – 2015 there were plenty of opportunities to do so, either at my camera club in Purley or though workshops open to a wider audience.
In 2015 I moved to Fleet in Hampshire, got married and the Hampshire School of Photography was formed in June 2016.
Now I teach photography for a living and together with running my photography business, I am living the dream.
Dream perhaps… but also hopefully leaving a legacy as I pass my 40+ years of knowledge to others.
I really hope this blog is useful to anyone struggling with their photography. There was obviously nothing like this around when I grew up and new photographers are spoilt for choice these days with the digital revolution now in full swing. If you’re reading this I’m delighted, if you’re enjoying your photography I’m even more delighted.
If you choose to follow this blog, engage with it, ask questions and get passionate about your chosen creative path – then I can think of no greater personal professional pleasure.
Your first 10,000 photos are your worst
Let’s see if working together, we can improve upon that